July 21, 2016 5 Seconds Of Summer Rattle New Jersey 7-10-16 w/ ONE OK ROCK & Hey Violet
Rising to international fame back in 2013 while as support on One Direction’s Take Me Home Tour, Australia’s 5 Seconds Of Summer are not what some may think. First off, to label them just a boy band would simply be short sighted. Proving such, their sophomore album, 2015’s Sounds Good Feels Good, is a great leap forward of Pop Punk perfection, but mature songwriting filled with powerful and emotional songs. Even UK-based Rock magazine Kerrang! stated, “Sounds Good Feels Good won’t change the world, but it might just change your mind.” All that in mind, the assembly of 5 Seconds of Summer, all under 25 years of age, continue to build on their fanbase as they tour through 2016 on the Sounds Live Feels Live Tour.
A world tour that began following the release of Sounds Good Feels Good in late October, the USA has been gracious to host the Aussies through September with shows lined up across the country. Amidst it all, the band returned to PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey on Sunday, July 10th. Their first visit to the open-air theater since their sold out gig back on August 30, 2015, when they were on Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour, returning along for the ride again is opening act Hey Violet along with the addition of ONE OK ROCK. A full year of anticipation may have been too long for the dedicated and passionate fans that flowed into the venue eager to see this entertaining show once more.
Ready to get the party going was Los Angeles, California’s Hey Violet. Begun back in 2015, following the departure of Julia Pierce from their original all-female band Cherri Bomb, Hey Violet have been letting the world know who they are. Consisting of Rena Lovelis (bass guitar/lead vocals), Miranda Miller (rhythm guitar/keyboards/vocals), Nia Lovelis (drums/vocals), Casey Moreta (lead guitar/vocals), Hey Violet signed on with Hi or Hey Records, dropping their debut EP, entitled I Can Feel It, last July. Well-received for the collective’s new sound, a year later, the bulk of the audience on hand were quite familiar with the band prior to them taking the stage.
Running out with a ton of energy, Hey Violet were ready to go. An opening act, one would expected their set to be the time when people are just leaving their homes to head to the show, but that was quite the opposite as most were in place ready to rock as the band kicked off with “Make Up.” With excellent showmanship and a fast, upbeat sound, highlights included a cover of the Chainsmoker’s “Don’t Let Me Down,” along with originals such as “I Can Feel It” and “All I Ever Wanted.” With a Pop friendly sound, Hey Violet did an exceptional job lifting the crowd’s spirits for the rest of the evening to come.
Next up, was ONE OK ROCK all the way from Japan. Bringing their brand of Rock to the United States, ONE OK ROCK find themselves touring the country for the second time in 2016, the first with Issues and Crown The Empire on the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour back in the spring. This time playing to a different audience, ONE OK ROCK possess the diverse style/sound that appeals to many.
With Ryota Kohama (bass/vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar/vocals), Tomoya Kanki (drums, percussion), and Taka Moriuchi (lead vocals), the band walked out to a roar of cheers welcoming them with open arms. Performing songs from their 2015 album, 35xxxv, such as “Cry Out” and “Suddenly,” the band was razor sharp, offering addictive melodies and emotionally drenched vocals. With the adrenaline flowing through their veins, they blasted along with little time to waste into other tracks including “The Way Back” and “Decisions.” Projecting an intensity that added that much more to the songs, the crowd devoured the lively set as they prepared for the main course of 5 Seconds Of Summer.
As daylight began to fade, the covered seated area was packed while the lawn filled up, as well as everyone trying to find the best vantage point to see the performance. Chattering amongst themselves, it was clear that almost everyone from last summer’s visit to PNC Bank Arts Center had returned for round 2. Then, without further ado, Luke Hemmings (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Michael Clifford (guitar/vocals), Calum Hood (bass guitar/vocals), and Ashton Irwin (drums) ran onto the stage. While Hemmings went straight to center microphone to sing, it was inaudible because of the screams echoing through the venue, drowning out his voice. Thankfully, calming down slightly, after the initial eruption, the crowd rocked out as the band played “Carry On,” “Hey Everybody!,” and “Money.” With nearly everyone dancing about the aisles and on the grass hill in the back, they continued with “Voodoo Doll” and “Don’t Stop.”
Keeping the light summertime vibes flowing, “Long Way Home” captured a mood of carefree attitude as “Waste the Night” saw Hemmings playfully split the crowd down the middle just to see who was the loudest. Clearly enjoying themselves on the stage with relaxed, fun-loving antics, this reflected onto the audience, who could barely contain themselves as the show moved along with the acoustic strumming during “Vapor,” which resonated in the the air as many joined Hemmings to sing along. With that said, the night might have been filled with screaming girls, but the band managed to get everyone involved in the show. For instance, Clifford introduced a “dad cam” where cameras panned the crowd to search for dads. They had no problem in their hunt because there were many proud dads on hand thankful to be at the show with their daughters.
Keeping the show unique and personal, the band even created a song on the spot about the crowd with heartfelt fragment of “Holmdel feels like home.” The entire crowd sang along and felt the love as flashlights and hands were being waved left to right. Halfway through their set, Hood announced, “So I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that our set is halfway done. But the good news is that we still have half of our set left!” A glass half full approach, the crowd raged with excitement yet again as the band played on with the hit single “Amnesia.” Bringing everyone together, it was followed by a stellar second half that included “Jet Black Heart;” a song that had nearly two minutes of endless screams as Hemmings looked out into the sea of people in amazement. Thereafter, they kept the pressure on with “Good Girls,” “Permanent Vacation,” and their invigorating cover of The Romantics’ “What I like About You.”
Seeming as the show had all but ended, the band did not even need to step off the platform for more ear-piercing screams from the crowd. The screaming never stopped until 5 Seconds Of Summer returned for their two song encore, which began with “She’s Kinda Hot;” a track Hood explained as one that is a revolution for outcasts. Then, the finale came with their triple platinum single, “She Looks So Perfect,” where now many people were even standing on their seats amplifying their voices to new heights to sing along.
An electrifying experience, 5 Seconds Of Summer put on an amazing show. Enthusiasm of the audience aside, they rocked with a tight sound and showed they are not a boy band, they are a Rock band down to the bone. They even made a point to share lessons and messages to their fans throughout the performance. This included a few minutes where Clifford expressed he wanted to make this a night about love and how he acknowledged the vast amount of devastation the world has sustained of late. A speech which touched everyone’s heart, it shows these guys are quite aware and mature. From more serious notes to a unified message of fun and love, The Sound Lives Feels Live Tour is a Rock arena show one has to see to believe.